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18 December 2010 @ 03:11 pm
Heirs to the House of El: [Epilogue] We're Marching On (Part One)  
This is it, folks. The final chapter of Heirs. It's been a long crazy ride and we're grateful to everyone that has come along on the ride with us. We know this fic wasn't the happiest we're ever written, nor the funniest, but we hope it was the most realistic and that it was a worthy successor to Little Secrets. We want to personally thank each and every one of you for all of the reviews, good and bad, and all the support this fic has gotten. I've said it before and I'll say it again. We do this for you and we'd have it no other way. It's because of all of you that we continue to grow as writers. Take care, all, and keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming LS-verse oneshots, the Across the Universe oneshot series, and the Heirs: Sessions short series coming in a few weeks. And we'll see you all back in this universe in the summer of 2011 for the next epic, Blood Will Tell.


OneRepublic-Marching On


 

Kal-El

 

The last month has been a roller coaster, with everything that happened in Nevada.  On the up side, I rescued my daughter, saved my marriage, and discovered that Superman can actually take a break without the world ending.  On the down side, everyone I love was in danger, and in the aftermath we’re all in therapy.

I’m surprised to realize I rather like Dr. Elliot Marrin.  He may be Lois’ ex, and their relationship may have been a train wreck from my perspective, but he knows her, and he still cares about her.  Of course we can’t tell him the whole truth about our family, which I worried might be a problem.  It seems not to affect the situation, though, and I know he’s been a great deal of help to Kala.

He’s been a lot of help to me, too.  Technically he’s a child psychologist, but his expertise extends to families, which is why all of us have been seeing him.  He offered to refer me and Lois to a marriage counselor, but as he told me, “What you really need to do is spend 15 minutes twice a day showing her that she’s wanted, needed, and loved.  Words are important to her as a journalist, but actions are even more compelling.  And don’t make it a routine – do something different, at different times of the day.  This isn’t a chore; it should be fun for both of you.  Just make sure you carve out that time each day for the two of you.”

Very common-sense advice that I should’ve already figured out, but sometimes even I need someone to point things like that out to me.  I know I love Lois – always have, always will – but she can’t read my mind, and I shouldn’t expect that of her.

If Dr. Marrin wasn’t enough, we also have Richard and Lana keeping an eye on us.  Lana can break up any incipient argument by crossing her arms and glaring at us like a couple of misbehaving children, and Richard always has an appropriate (or wildly inappropriate) joke for every situation. 

It was Lana who reminded me to count my blessings every day, and the more I look for, the more I find.  Even the small blessings, like the new puppy deciding to chew an old towel instead of my new shoes, remind me that life is good.  I actually think I’m happier now, after all the trauma of New Year’s, than I was at any other time, except when Lois and I got married.  Our wedding still tops my list of red-letter days.

Not that things have been perfect.  You can’t have two strong-willed women in the house without a certain amount of arguing, but at least Lois and Kala both remember how much they love each other.  Kala told her mother about how everything ended in Nevada, and now whenever they do quarrel they usually end it with a reminder of that.  Lois tells her, “You are of the house of Lane!”  Or Kala sighs, “And I gave up Empress of Earth for this?”  I couldn’t make those kinds of jokes, but their sense of humor is as dark as Kala’s wardrobe.  It works for them, that’s the important part.

We may not be all the way back to the way things were, but we’re heading in the right direction.  And we’re doing it together.  I hadn’t realized how much I missed that sense of shared goals and family cohesion until we got it back.

I will never take this for granted again.  And it seems like everyone is just as determined as I am.  Even the League has stepped up, making a point of formally naming Lois our media liaison and introducing her to all the members she hasn’t yet met.  It’s done her a lot of good to see the way most of them react to her – she’s a legend to all the young heroes, not to mention part of an epic love story.

Ours is a love story, ultimately.  Sometimes I wonder how we all managed to survive Luthor yet again, and while I know that planning and powers and luck had a lot to do with it, I think our greatest asset is love.  Luthor doesn’t understand love; it’s the one thing he can’t account for or plan to exploit.  He couldn’t understand why making it seem like Kala had become the enemy would only make us more determined to save her.  He could never comprehend why Lana and Richard would fight to join us in the search after what he did to them. 

And he could never imagine that Lois and I would find our way to forgiveness and an even stronger marriage after the way he told me about the secret he forced her to keep.  She bears the scars of that secret, not exactly identical to my own, but close enough to send a shiver down my spine when I look at them.  I failed her badly long ago, and one of the consequences of having taken her memories and left the planet was confronting Luthor again.  Slashed in the side with a kryptonite shiv, shot in the chest with a kryptonite-pointed bullet, I paid for my sins in blood.  And now so has Lois.  I’d already forgiven her when Luthor shot her, but the scars on her shoulder and belly are a reminder that the two of us bear all burdens together, never alone.  We’ll never give up on each other.  Love is our strength, and his weakness. 

Knowing that, I’m a little more comfortable with the knowledge that Luthor still hasn’t been found.  We have to assume he escaped to whatever backup he had planned, and that he’s still out there plotting our destruction.  The last time we tangled with him, I was constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for him to strike again.  This time, I’m still worried, but not afraid like I was then.  Now I know that whatever he tries to throw at us, we’ll counter it.  He won’t win.

Not with all of us on watch.  Jason’s stepping up his training, and so is Kala.  Lois used to want to hold them back, afraid they’d be tossed in way over their heads, but it’s rapidly becoming clear that they can hold their own.  They need training, because they’re certainly not going to sit back and watch when their skills and powers are needed.  They get that drive from both of us, and there’s no denying it.  Besides, Kala has to work on her flight, or she’ll wind up using it unexpectedly.

This summer I’m going to send Jason to spend a few weeks with Bruce and his boys.  A change of pace and perspective will be useful, and there’s no one outside the immediate family I trust more than Bruce.  It’ll be a lot easier for him, too.  I catch myself wanting to protect Jason when I should be letting him do things himself.  I know he’s nearly a grown man, but it’s hard to stop thinking of him as my little boy.

If it’s difficult with Jason, it’s heartbreaking with Kala.  She went up to the Fortress to have a private conversation with Jor-El, with the end result that she’s finally in training.  She’s working hard, but there’s no way she can make up for several years in just a few months, so she won’t be going to Gotham.  Kala says she’s okay with it, and teases that Jason’s old enough to be trusted on his own, but I know the two of them will miss each other. 

Still, we always knew they’d have to separate eventually.  Life does that to even the closest siblings as they grow up.  Their lives’ paths are taking them in slightly different directions.  He wants to follow in my footsteps: to be a hero, to have a family, to have the kind of career that allows for both.  Whether or not Kala will actually end up in a costume rescuing people remains to be seen.  As of right now she intends to become famous and then use her popularity for the greater good.  She wants to be a rock star, and that’s looking less like a pipe dream every day. 

I’ve always known she could sing.  No one gets into Stalmaster without an audition, and even so, there’s a wait list each year of students who didn’t quite make the cut.  For Kala to be in their vocal program means she’s talented far beyond my fatherly faith in her abilities.  Nick – who is not allowed to date my daughter until she turns 18, but who can be her friend unless and until he proves himself unworthy of the name – told us that several bands were looking for her after New Year’s Eve.  I didn’t really believe him at the time, or more correctly, I didn’t care.  I had more important things on my mind, like finding her.

Somehow, even knowing that, I never expected to find myself in a teen club, or whatever Fuel bills itself as, waiting for my daughter to step onstage.  I never expected to have to stand up in the back because there’s absolutely no seating here; the band that’s asked her to sing with them is popular enough to crowd the place to the Fire Marshal’s occupancy limit.  And I never expected my chest to be this tight at the thought that Kala really could succeed at what all of us thought was a wild dream.

Then again, she’s the daughter of Lois Lane and Superman.  There’s no telling what heights she can soar to.  I’d say the same of Jason, but he has his feet firmly on the ground, even if he is going to be onstage beside Kala for this one performance.

 

 

There’s so many wars we fought,
There’s so many things we’re not,
But with what we have,
I promise you that,
We’re marching on,
(We’re marching on)
(We’re marching on).

For all of the plans we’ve made,
There isn’t a flag I’d
wave,
Don’t care if we bend,
I’d sink us to
swim,
We’re marching on,
(We’re marching on)
(We’re marching on).

 

 

Lois

 

For those of you that have any ideas that getting shot and living through it is cool, I don’t recommend it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever think a whole day in bed is a luxury ever again.  Enforced rest?  For the frickin’ birds.  I’ve been home free for the last two and a half weeks and I’m not really sure who’s more relieved: me or the staff.  Investigative reporters dying a slow death from being cooped up and bored to death is not healthy for anyone.

To be serious, the last month and a half have probably been the hardest of my life.  And not just because of me playing the invalid.  If I was entirely honest, and most people would argue that that’s impossible for a reporter, it’s not just been because of the food, the medications, starting physical therapy.  It’s not any of it.  It’s having time to sit and think.  I never thought of it before, but there’s a reason I stay so damn busy.

If you keep moving, the Devil can’t get you.

And this time, he very nearly did.  This time he very nearly got all of us.

To say my mind can be a bad neighborhood no one should visit alone can occasionally be an understatement.  The potential for long hours of self-reflection is a pretty terrifying prospect.  There’s a lot of things I’m still trying to work out that happened out there in the desert.  There’s also the added thrill of knowing that I now have to share all this with Kinky Briefcase.  There is no adequate way to describe just how much he gets under my skin and how much I loathe him dragging every skeleton out of the closet, but it’s in the kids’ best interests and that’s always come first.  To get us back to where we need to be, I’d do every cliché in the book.  I made the mistake of thinking that I could run from my problems, forget that they exist.  That’s not an option anymore, as Elliot seems so pleased to remind me.  Doing this with him is a perfect reminder of things I have yet to deal with.  That said, sometimes I forget that he can lob the dynamite right back at me.  I just keep holding my breath and telling myself that I’m taking another one for the team.

Next to that, physical therapy’s a breeze.  Luthor shot cleanly, if nothing else.  The wound in my shoulder is a bigger pain in the ass than the one in my side.  Mobility is limited in my right arm because of it, the damage and the stiffness only making it possible to raise it to my shoulder.  Which also makes prolonged pressure in my hand an issue.  And that’s a big problem when you’re the assistant editor of Metropolis’ best paper.

The Old Man decreed after my first day in physical therapy that I was on light-duty for the next six weeks.  After I finished my first six weeks of sessions and he gets an update on my condition.  He told Clark that ‘light-duty’ means I have to sit in meetings as we make adjustments to the Board of Directors and all of that upper management BS.  Samantha, the therapy harpy, was expecting me to cry and whine over the amount of exercises.  Ha!  We’re a week in and she’s constantly complaining that she has to slow me down; it’s almost always the other way around with other patients.  Shows what you know, Gym Fun Barbie.  Lois Lane isn’t going to be held back by something as insignificant as personal injury.  The sooner I’m back in working order, the faster Mad Dog Lane can make a grand return appearance to her Pit of Vipers.  God, I’m even missing Bill’s stale jokes at this point.  See?  That’s a bad sign.

An even worse, far more pathetic sign?  I talked Dr. Martens into daily three-hour appointments, if I’m up to it.  The if was his addition. But that only fills up so many hours in the day.  Perry will just barely allow me to stop into the City room once a week and even then, only long enough to get an update on what’s been happening in the aftermath of all of this mess.  I know what he’s doing.  Not only does he want me to rest up and get better, but he knows that I’ll just come back stronger for being denied.  Nope, I hadn’t missed that.  He’s going to be furious when he realizes that I’m figuring him out.

 But the worst part of being stuck at home all day is the waiting.  You can only have so many lunches with the girls, daytime TV is a joke, I’ve discovered that it is possible to OD on CNN and MSNBC, and I pretty much read everything in the house the first week I was home.  That is, what I didn’t read while I was trapped in the hospital bed.  Clark’s at work most of the day, the kids are back at school, so I actually find myself listening for the front door to open like the stereotypical Little Woman.  Like I said, forced idleness usually means I’m into something in a space of hours.  Not this time.  Especially since I promised my husband I would behave myself.

The only good thing about this arrangement is that the four of us get quality time a lot more often.  I never realized how much we took our time for granted until the first time I saw the twins coming through the door after school after I got out of the hospital.  I know now that Kal-El didn’t tell them that I was coming home that morning, since he had taken the day off and signed me out around noon.  I haven’t seen them that excited in the longest time.  Kala parked herself on my right side with her head on my shoulder and just leaned there for a while.  Jason didn’t hover as much, just hugging me as tightly as he dared and kissing my cheek, but I knew he was watching.  It was just that Kala needed me more, needed the reassurance that I was really there.  And so did I.  Old habits die hard when something like this happens to us.  There’s that intense need to protect what’s yours.  I think that’s where we are at the moment; we need to reassure ourselves that it’s over and that none of us are going to disappear in broad daylight.

  Things in the spousal support portion of our lives, Kal-El and I are making pretty good headway to getting things back to normal.  The fighting has pretty much screeched to a halt, both of us trying to feel our way back.  We know where we started to get off-course and neither of us has any intention of letting it get that bad again.  We’ve made a point of having lunch together again, with him surprising me with something new every day even if he’s out on the street around noon.  He never tells me where it’s from or what it is before he’s got it plated.  He used to do that sort of thing back in the day and, as little as he or I talked about it, it was always a highlight to have him choose for me.  Actually, some of my favorite dishes now were ones he snuck in to me while I was mid-harangue on the phone with a source.  It’s been a blessing to get this time alone.  As long as we find ways to reconnect, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll be okay.  Even if constantly tearing each other’s clothes off isn’t an option.  Which it needs to be.  Soon.  But it’s not like there aren’t ways around that little rule…

  Oh, wait.  Speaking of ways to reconnect, I forgot my Furry Little Shadow for a minute there.  No, I’m not talking about Bagel.  The poor Brat is sleeping with Kala lately, the tension in the house trickling down to the dog now that the humans have it in gear.  I was telling Kal-El the other day that we need to get her a name tag shaped like a purple heart for going after Lex’s little spy the way she did.  No, I’m actually talking about the new pup, Chewie.  Her actual name is Katchoo, because she was no bigger than a sneeze when Martha first brought her to Metropolis on her and Ben’s last visit.  The nickname came once she took a liking to a pair of Kala’s boots.  She was a sickly little thing, a total of six pounds and just a little bigger than the palm of my hand, four weeks old and the runt of the litter. The mother had pushed her aside, too many puppies in the litter and not enough food was the guess.

The vet told them that she needed constant care to prevent her from being any more undernourished than she already was, and as much warmth as possible, especially with how frigid the Midwest has been so far this year.  The carrier Martha had her in was even heated.  Chewie had been so little when I first saw her, shivering in my hands while she slept, but she didn’t cry the whole time I held her.

But she definitely did when I handed her over to Ben so I could keep my daily date with Samantha the Rehab Queen.  The pup was struggling then when I turned to go, her eyes on me when I turned around.  And that was it.  As usual, I found myself caving.  All of them think I don’t know that she was brought here to distract me and give me something other than myself to fret over.  I know what they’re doing.  But I’m old enough to admit I don’t care.  That puppy has a fighter’s spirit and she makes therapy easier by keeping Sam enthralled and making sure she doesn’t notice when I sneak in an extra rep or two.  We make a good team.  Both of us are getting stronger every day, just like the rest of the family.

It would be too easy to say that I never expected us to come to this, but we all know it would be a lie.  Life is never an even path nor would we want it to be; what would we learn from that?  In getting lost, our family managed to find each other again and I’ll never take a moment of my time with them for granted again.  Especially not when tonight is Kala’s debut.  It’s not Royal Albert Hall or Madison Square Garden, but that doesn’t matter to her.  For her, this is the big time.  And it is one hell of an accomplishment.  Sebast has been wheedled into joining her and Jason is going to be accompanying their performance.  All of this added to Clark, Lana, Richard, and I being here.  I know she’s excited and I’m excited for her.  As time marches on, who knows what life has in store for us?  All I know is that we’ll all be here to rise to the challenge.  Come what may.

 

For this dance we’ll move with each other.
There ain’t no other step than one foot,
Right in front of the other.

There’s so many wars we fought,
There’s so many things we’re not,
But with what we have,
I promise you that,
We’re marching on,
(We’re marching on)
(We’re marching on).


....
 
 
On the Verge of: accomplishedaccomplished
Beautiful Noise: OneRepublic-Marching On
 
 
Lois: Heirs :: Clois :: Holding Onkalalanekent on January 7th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)
It's been an epic journey, that's for sure. I'm always amazed that it all works out in the end, even after all the planning and angsting over the quality of the work. You know me. I'm the most insecure writer in the fandom. XD And I thank God that you guys trusted us with this.

That's the funny thing about family issues. You don't really notice what's happening day to day within the group, just that there's issues that you'll work on when you have time. None of them really knew how deep the fissures where, until something happened [actually, several somethings happened at once], and you realize that there's been a crater in the center of the group for a while and you're running the risk of falling in. Then you have a choice: keep pretending it's not there or do the hard and gut-wrenching work of trying to seal the cracks. In a way, it's a good thing that all of this happened. None of them will ever let it get this far out of hand again.

And the day I can't write Lois as true to form, even when down and out, I'll put down my pen forever. A heroine needs to be just as stubborn as her hero is strong. That's why they're the perfect team. And if you like this, wait until Sessions. XD